Children’s early dental experiences determine their attitude to dentistry later in life. At our practice, we encourage young people to take good care of their teeth, establishing a positive attitude which reduces future dental treatment to a minimum. The American Academies of Pediatric Dentistry and Pediatrics recommend that children see a dentist by the child’s 1st birthday to prevent tooth decay and gum disease in the future.
Studies have shown the importance of starting children early in their lives with good dental hygiene and oral care. Without proper care, over 40% - 50% of children will be affected by tooth decay before age 5. Early treatment prevents problems affecting a child’s health, well-being, self-image and overall achievement.
Children's teeth begin forming before they are even born. The first primary, or baby teeth, to erupt through the gums are the lower central incisors. These are followed closely by the upper central incisors which come through around four months after birth. All twenty primary teeth have usually appeared by the time the child reaches three years old.
Oral care should begin soon after birth. Gums should be cleaned after each feeding. You should begin brushing your child's teeth as soon as they appear. Permanent teeth start to come through around the age of six. This begins with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until approximately age twenty-one.
Parents are responsible for ensuring their children practice good dental hygiene. A good oral hygiene routine for children includes:
Our dentists, with their years of experience and love for children emphasis a preventive approach which includes the following services:
Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay, and may require a crown. Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental checkups, diet control and fluoride treatment.
The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way. Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars, and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years, but needs to be checked during regular appointments.
Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically children stop between the ages of two and four years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth, requiring orthodontics in their later years.
Composite restorations (white fillings) are used for primary and permanent teeth after the removal of tooth decay.
Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crown forms that are adapted to individual teeth. They are indicated when gross decay, decalcification or developmental defects are present, following pulpotomies or pulpectomies that weaken the teeth and make them prone to fracture. The crown will last the life of the primary tooth, and the patient will not have to undergo repeated restorations on the same tooth.
The best space maintenance therapy is the preservation of the primary molars until they are lost naturally. Sometimes, when the teeth are unrestorable, the need for extraction is unavoidable. The purpose of the space maintainers or "spacers" is to preserve the space for the developing permanent tooth.